Adjusting to the Holy Spirit is not easy. It is inconvenient. It requires making major changes in some of the habits that have never bothered us before. The question is, how far are you and I prepared to go in developing an acute sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's ways? I pray it will not be said of us, “They have not known my ways,” as said of ancient Israel (Ps. 95:10, NIV). By not knowing His ways, Israel forfeited its inheritance.
Adjusting to the Dove is welcoming His presence. It is also giving Him no cause to leave.
How do we welcome Him? For one thing, tell Him! Have you often addressed the Holy Spirit in these words, “Holy Spirit, I welcome You”? Do this. Tell Him He is most welcome. Doing this is, in my opinion, virtually the first thing we must utter to God—together with the prayer for the sprinkling of Christ's blood on us—every single morning of our lives.
You may say, “He already knows He is welcome.” Really? Do you think He would love to hear you tell Him this? When you visit someone, and that person says to you, “You are most welcome here,” doesn't it make you feel good?
Is the Holy Spirit so sensitive that He needs to be told He is welcome? Perhaps. Most people, sadly, want little or nothing to do with Him. You can prove you are different by welcoming Him! You can develop a deeper intimacy with the Lord by talking to Him about the most obvious and simple things—just as you would do with a friend.
But welcome Him to come in the manner He chooses.
There are several ways in which He may test our willingness to welcome Him. He may gently suggest that your attitude toward someone is not right. If you push this thought to one side, the chances are that the Spirit may well unobtrusively slip away. You cannot be selective in the manner He may choose to come. When the Spirit departs like this, you usually feel nothing at first. And yet you do feel something—righteousness in yourself that your attitude is justified.
I've been in that position a thousand times. I know what it is to feel so upset that they could do such a thing! Often I have conversations with myself, imagining what I will say to the other person. I rehearse what the other person did. “That can't be right,” I keep saying. I even imagine that I hear God saying, “Of course that's not right.” I start feeling good, as if God is on my side—not theirs. I tell myself that I sense the presence of the heavenly Dove. Wrong! If anything, it's a pigeon.
When I welcome the Holy Spirit I must take Him as He wants to come. He may flood my soul with joy and peace. He may highlight a verse as I read the Bible, showing me something I hadn't seen before. I love it when He applies the Word to a current situation in such a manner that I know what to do that day. I don't like it, however, when that Word instructs me to apologize to my wife—or a deacon, friend, or fellow minister—before I can feel great peace again.
Of one thing we can be sure, however. The end result of the Holy Spirit's manifestation provides considerable inner peace. Peace.
Adapted from By Love Transformed by R.T. Kendall, copyright 2006, published by Charisma House. This classic devotional will help you be transformed by God's love and experience Him in ways you never dreamed possible. Taken from Kendall's most beloved writings, it contains 365 timeless messages that are practical, realistic and profoundly personal.